Orchha (or Urchha) is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh State. The town was established by Rudra Pratap Singh some time after 1501, as the seat of an eponymous former princely state of central India, in the Bundelkhand region. Orchha lies on the Betwa River, 80 km from Tikamgarh & 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. The capital of the mighty “Bundela Rajput kings“, spells history almost in every part of the city. The monuments here retain the historic touch to give tourists an insight into its rich past. The location of the city in itself is picturesque with hills and lush greenery around making it picture perfect. If you are a lover of nature or history or both, you are sure to fall for Orchha, the beautiful ancient land in Madhya Pradesh Tourism where many a battle were fought.
Places Of Interest
Orchha Fort is situated on the island on Betwa River. Apart of the picturesque view of the natural treasures, the fort has more to offer. It houses many palaces and temples. The three most important palaces seen here are “Jahangir Mahal”,” Raj Mahal” and the famous “Rai Parveen Mahal”. Jahangir Mahal reflects the architectural splendor that prevailed in Orchha in the past. The views from the multi-storeyed balconies in the palace are spectacular. Raj Mahal ranks amongst the most ancient historic monuments in Orchha fort. Rai Parveen Mahal, which is in ruins now was a beautiful palace with lush gardens surrounding it. Rai Parveen was a Poetess and a Dancer. Her charm so attracted the king Indramani who built the palace for her. Ram Raja temple, which is a very famous temple in Orchha was earlier a palace. This palace turned temple is the only place in which “Rama” is worshipped as a king and not a god.
Chaturbhuj temple ,Which was constructed by the famous Bundela Rajput kings in the 17th century. Offers temple architecture as exquisite that Architectural minds are sure to be inspired just by looking at the exterior of the temple. It is said that the particular site of the temple was decided upon by the king to enable him to see god Krishna from the balcony of his palace. The views from the top floor of the temple are amazing.
Regardless of its 46 sq.km size, Orchha Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide range of animals. Ever since it was established in 1994, the sanctuary has been one of the top tourist destinations in Orchha. Some of the animals found here include Tigers, Leopards, Langur, Jackal, Sloth Bear, Blue Bull, Monkey and Peacock. The place is a delight for Bird watchers as there are nearly 200 species of Birds. The migratory birds that visit the place include Kingfisher, Woodpecker, Owls, Jungle bush quail, Black swan and Geese. River Betwa flowing through the area makes the sanctuary more appealing.
Chhatris were constructed in the past to glorify the contributions of the rulers of the mighty Bundelkhand dynasty. The Chhatris also are symbols of the rich cultural heritage and grandeur of the past. The 14 Chhatris constructed besides River Betwa reflect the amazing architectural skills of the craftsman.
Laxminarayan Temple was constructed in 1662. The temple portrays the excellent creativity in the artisans of the past as the architectural style involved in the creation is a blend of temple and fort. The main deity is Goddess Laxmi. Exquisite paintings on walls and ceilings add value to the temple. Though beautifully constructed, the lack of maintenance resulted in the need to renovate the structure, which was taken upon by Prithvi Singh in 1793.
Dinman Hardaul’s Palace was built to honor “prince Hardaul” who had sacrificed his life to prove himself and the values he held close to his elder brother “Jhujhar“. The decision to end his life was taken by him when his brother suspected him to be romantically involved with his companion. The 17th century palace stands proof of not only the sincerity of prince Hardaul but also of the architectural excellence the craftsman of the past possessed.
The Uth Khana (Camel Shelter) where the King’s camels were stationed is right next to the fort and is a must-see. Tourists can also climb on the roof of the Uth Khana and get a fantastic view of Orchha town. The ruins behind the fort complex are an even greater sight. It makes a tourist travel back in time and is an integral part of a visit to Orchha. It houses the residences of various military officers, ministers (housing, roads), gunpowder factory, etc. Although most are in absolute ruins, a silent walk through the ruins can give one goosebumps.
Built in honour of Mughal emperor Jahangir, Jahangir mahal offers an exquisite view to the wanderers of it, by the exemplary architecture, and the history it beholds in its lap.
Best Time to Visit Orchha
October to March is the best time to visit Orchha. However, you can also visit during the Monsoons as rains are mostly average here. The town is also very attractive during the festive season of Dusshera and if possible, you should visit this place during that time to see the illuminated town.
Winter (October – February)-: Beginning from October, the winter season is the most advisable time for a visit to Orchha. The months from October – February is a nice time for a visit when the climate is pleasant and the ambience lovely. This is also the peak season for travellers.
Monsoon (July – September)-: Although the monsoon season receives moderate to heavy rainfall, this is a nice time to visit Orchha, as the hilly area turns a lively green owing to the rainfall, though an excess may ruin your travelling plans as well. This is the best time for budget travellers, who can expect huge discounts at this time.